Quilters spend a lot of time figuring out how to contain fabric. Do you stack it based on who designed it? Do you sort by type or by color? Is it on shelves so you can see it, or in drawers so things look tidy (and nobody knows how much you really have)?
If you’re Pat Sloan you might do any of those things, but when it’s time to design a quilt out it all comes. “Fabric is like a big paint box of color,” says Pat. “I pull everything I want to work with. If I’m thinking yellow, I get everything from pale buttercream to deep, dark mustard. If you don’t pull it all out you might forget about it and miss a great design opportunity.”
Pat speaks about those “great design opportunities” from years of experience. She started designing quilt patterns professionally more than a decade ago and is excited about her first line of Moda fabric, Eat Your Fruits and Veggies.
“The whole reason I quilt is to play with fabric,” she says. “I like just about every color—it can be dusty or bright, and I like to mix pattern and bold prints together. Plaids, stripes, big florals—you wouldn’t want to wear ‘em together, but they can look great in a quilt.”
Though Pat’s fabric love started when she was young—her early memories include sewing Barbie doll clothes and learning the finer points of stitching in ninth grade home economics class—her first career was in computers, where she worked as a project manager and wrote software. A friend encouraged her to try quilting and Pat took a series of classes in which everything was done by hand, using cardboard templates. She loved it, and went on to hand piece Double Wedding Ring and Mariner’s Compass quilts. “I appreciate hand piecing, because you learn so much about construction, but it’s kind of nutty when I look back on it,” says Pat with a laugh.
Today Pat’s quilts are machine pieced and she uses her computer skills for interacting with quilters through her web site, Facebook, Twitter , online forums, and daily blog posts. With her husband Gregg, with whom she owns and operates Pat Sloan and Company, she travels the country speaking and teaching (you can find her workshop information here). “We’ve been so many nice towns and met wonderful people,” says Pat. She’s also kept busy interviewing quilters for her weekly Pat Sloan’s American Patchwork and Quilting Radio show, now in its third season. “I really enjoy learning how people think and work, what they used to do,” says Pat. “Just because we all quilt doesn’t mean we think the same or have the same experience.”
And somehow amidst it all, she makes sure she has gets to pull out those fabrics and sew for fun. “I still enjoy the satisfaction of making a quilt that doesn’t have a job,” she says with her signature laugh.